Category: Communications

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KVH’s TracPhone V30 announcement includes more affordable mini-VSAT service plans

It’s certainly noteworthy that KVH now offers a smaller, simpler, and less expensive VSAT antenna, but the TracPhone V30 announcement also mentioned new service rates of potential interest to those cruising and working on slimmer budgets. Although the more affordable plans only include small amounts of high-speed data, they also offer unlimited low-speed data. Is it fast enough to make working by satellite a reality at a reasonable cost? Depending on how you use the KVH mini-VSAT broadband service, it just might work for you.

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KVH Introduces High Performance, Easy-to-install TracPhone V30 Marine VSAT Antenna for Affordable Internet at Sea

KVH Industries, Inc., today introduces the TracPhone V30, an ultra-compact Ku-band VSAT antenna designed to deliver data speeds as fast as 6 Mbps down/2 Mbps up for leisure and commercial boats wanting to experience the benefits of Internet at sea. Measuring just 37 cm (14.5 inches) diameter and weighing 10.6 kg (23.4 lbs), the TracPhone V30 is designed to provide ease of installation and retrofit with a single power-data coax cable, versus multiple cables, and to utilize DC power, a plus for small boats with a limited power supply.

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Intellian’s innovative new v45C antenna brings VSAT to smaller vessels

Intellian is proud to announce the v45C, the smallest antenna the company has yet developed for the maritime satellite communications market. The C in the product name represents its compact form factor: this new 45cm unit will bring VSAT to new markets where there is limited space available for communications equipment, such as workboats, leisure craft, fishing boats, small commercial and government vessels…

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Digital Antenna 992, wideband VHF/AIS antenna with easy cabling

Both Ben Ellison and I have recently installed Vesper’s Cortex VHF Radio, AIS, and boat monitoring system. Cortex uses a single VHF antenna for VHF voice and AIS, which calls out for a wideband antenna that covers both frequency ranges well. Ben E. selected a Shakespeare 6500-WB antenna, and I’ve been testing a Digital Antenna 992 wideband antenna. We don’t have the ability to perform in-depth performance comparisons, but here’s a look at what you should expect from the antennas, and also the installation differences.

New Boat Network feature seen on iPad and Android phone versions of Cortex Onboard apps 36

Vesper Cortex update: Boat Networks, squashing bugs & more

Vesper Marine’s Cortex AIS, VHF, and monitoring system is the most innovative marine electronics product I’ve tested in a long time. But Cortex is also a serious challenge to review properly because it has so many useful capabilities — some of which look and feel strikingly different from their antecedents — and it’s also a system designed to evolve. That’s the justification for this update, even though…

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World’s First Truly Global, Real-Time Maritime Emergency Service Launched by Iridium

Iridium Communications Inc. ) today announced a historic achievement with the launch of the Iridium Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service. The system commenced operation on Friday, December 11th and with it, for the first time in history, Iridium has given seafarers a real-time emergency response and rescue service that works everywhere in the world. No other maritime emergency response system…

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Testing Vesper Cortex M1: excellent AIS, monitoring, and much more in one box

What a box! If possible, I’d expand the headline to “excellent AIS transceiver, dual antenna splitter, high-performance GNSS, AIS display and collision avoidance, NMEA 0183 & 2000 data multiplexing, nav app WiFi support, anchor watch, and general off-boat monitoring.” And even that long list leaves out the powerful VHF radio that’s also inside the M1 hub, accessible with the innovative multifunction Cortex handsets, and understandably the most prominent feature in Vesper’s marketing. But that’s my plan for this review…

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Internet afloat 2020, this should be easier!

Working from boat, cabin, RV, or wherever you find yourself is so very 2020, but for most of us, that takes internet connectivity. Unfortunately, staying online via a cellular connection has gotten increasingly harder. I’m baffled about why the year of nomadic work is also the year that carriers have made it so very difficult, but what follows is an update on what I’ve done historically, what’s stopped working recently, and how I’m trying to remedy the situation.

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Searching for a quality VHF/AIS combo antenna, Shakespeare 6500-WB found

A high-quality combination VHF and AIS antenna was on Gizmo’s shopping list this summer, even though I knew that it’s challenging to do both really well. The USCG Navigation Center spectrum diagram above tells the story (as does their detailed U.S. VHF Channel list): The marine VHF audio channels cluster around 157 MHz while the two main AIS channels are up at 162 MHz. That’s why dedicated VHF and AIS antennas are optimized differently…